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Name in Finnish: Paasselän pirut, Paasselän piru, Paasivesi piru, Paasiveden piruista, Paasselän piruista, Paasselän pohuista

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Paasselkä devils

WorldBlue  In short

There was a time when locals living around Lake Paasselkä (earlier – Paasivesi) did not turn much attention to the lights hovering above this large lake. Paasselkä Devil was just a play of spirits, who should care about them?

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GPS coordinates
62.1509 N 29.4091 E
Location, address
Europe, Finland, Southern Savonia, 41 km north-east from Savonlinna, Paasselkä lake
Name in Finnish
Paasselän pirut, Paasselän piru, Paasivesi piru, Paasiveden piruista, Paasselän piruista, Paasselän pohuista

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WorldYellow In detail

Nowadays, when people have no logical explanation for the existence of spirits and ghosts, this light phenomenon is very intriguing. It is observed rather often nowadays as well.

Impact crater

Specialists had a supposition that the large, deep Paasselkä lake has been formed by a meteorite. Geological investigations in 1999 proved it – this enormous depression was created by a large meteorite hitting the Earth approximately 229 million years ago, in the middle-late Triassic period.

Paasselkä lake has a roughly circular form and has no islands in the central part, it is unusually deep – up to 75 m. Through several channels, this lake is connected with other lakes of this area, forming a part of the picturesque Greater Saimaa complex.

Light balls over the lake

Light phenomena over the Paasselkä lake have been observed for centuries (mentioned in written sources since the 18th century) but in recent years the interest was revived by a wonderful book of the enthusiast of local history Sulo Strömberg. This book, issued in 2006, contains a collection of the stories of eyewitnesses who have seen these lights.

Eyewitnesses tell that Paasselkä devil can be seen at night and looks like a ball of bright light. It is not easy to determine the size of these formations: for the most part, they are seen at a great distance, hovering above the lake. It is assumed that they reach the size of a football.

For the most part, these balls are white, also red ones have been seen. Eyewitnesses tell that the light is very bright, much more powerful than the distant lights of car headlamps, driving along the lake.

In most cases they are seen over the lake, but there are cases when these lights have been seen also in nearby forests and marshes. For the most part, is seen one light, but there might be several.

Paasselkä devil can be calm, resembling a bright lantern. But these seemingly calm lights might start to move around very quickly.

Local people report that sometimes these lights behave as if they have their own will. They might follow the boats of fishermen, it has been also observed that lights evade from the beam of the torch.

Thus once, at the beginning of the 20th century a group of people was returning with a boat from a wedding. They noticed the light hovering above the lake and decided to approach it. As they did it, the light moved away for several hundred meters very fast and was standing calm again.

In earlier times local people considered that these are some evil spirits, there are known cases of offerings to Paasselkä devils up to the early 20th century.

Nowadays several tourist companies have included “watching of Paasselkä Devil” in their tours, an additional attraction to the usual fishing tours. From time to time tourist groups report about sightings of this phenomenon, there are taken images and videos.

Convincing explanation to this phenomenon has not been found. There are attempts to explain these lights – like the old and multiple times disproved theory about some easily ignited gases rising from the sediments of the lake or some rare piezoelectric effects.

Similar light phenomena are observed in other regions of the world as well, such as the impressive Chir Batti in Gujarat, India.

Recommended (of you read Finnish)

  1. Sulo Strömberg. "Kerimäen ja Savonrannan kyliä kiertämässä. Tarinoita Paasveen piruista ja pohuista" (Around Kerimäki and Savonranna villages. Paasselkä stories about the devil and spirits.), 2006, Tripylon, 106 pages, ISBN 952-92-0751-4.

Similar phenomena described by Wondermondo

Naga fireballs over Mekong
Naga fireballs / Image from Tourism Authority of Thailand.
  • Chir Batti in India, Gujarat are balls of light floating near the ground level around the plains of Banni grasslands. These lights were noticed here already in ancient times. There is no scientific explanation to this phenomenon.
  • Hessdalen lights in Norway are balls of light often seen floating in Hessdalen valley. This phenomenon has been researched since 1983 but no explanation has been found thus far.
  • Naga fireballs of Mekong are seen above Mekong on the border between Thailand and Laos. These are red balls of light rising up from the waters of Mekong, especially frequent at full moon in October. There is no convincing explanation of these lights.

Paasselkä devils are included in the following article:

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